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Injured 'Jackets forward Nick Foligno may return in Game 2

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:12:38 +0000

Fitzgerald Cecilio - 4E Sports Reporter

Pittsburgh, PA, United States (4E Sports) - The Columbus Blue Jackets could get some additional help in their quest for the franchise's first Stanley Cup Playoff win.

According to coach Todd Richards, forward Nick Foligno could suit up in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference First Round series Saturday against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Arena.

The Penguins won Wednesday's Game 1 of the best-of-7 series, 4-3.

Foligno, who has missed the past six games with a knee injury, had another excellent practice Friday and may make it hard for Richards to keep him out of the lineup.

Richards said he will consult with athletic trainer Mike Vogt and Foligno after the morning skate Saturday.

"If you ask Nick, he wants to play tomorrow, but we've got to make the right decision," Richards said. "Sometimes you have to intervene because they just want to play. You don't want to put them in a risky position where they can make it worse."

If Foligno plays, it would mark the return of two 18-goal scorers because left wing RJ Umberger (upper body) is healthy after sitting the past four games.

"Hopefully he'll bring some energy and excitement, because he's been out a little bit and it's a chance to get back with the group and come in and contribute," Richards said of Umberger.

Umberger was a healthy scratch for the first time in his NHL career March 20 at the Montreal Canadiens and sat three of the next six games before being injured April 6 against the New York Islanders.

"The injury might have been a benefit in disguise for me," Umberger said. "It allowed some other things to heal up. I feel great right now."

Umberger is one of the more playoff-tested Columbus players with 19 points (14 goals, five assists) in 26 games for the Philadelphia Flyers and Blue Jackets.

"He's got playoff experience," Richards said. "He's played in big games and had big moments, and is a guy who has proven over the years that he can finish when given an opportunity."

Umberger will be on a line with center Artem Anisimov and Blake Comeau.

If Foligno does not play, Richards will likely reunite the fourth line of center Mark Letestu with left wing Derek MacKenzie and right wing Corey Tropp.

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